Building on the previous three posts–Modeling Christ and the Bride, Reality, and Identity–I see key mindsets in 1 Peter of how to live, our marriages being the prime area we should apply these mindsets.
- Be focused to do the work of the Kingdom with dedicated and watchful prayers because we have the goal and deadline of Jesus’ return (1 Peter 1:13-14, 4:7).
- Expect persecution which is your part of Christ’s sufferings, and rejoice to the extent you are able to display His glory which will enable you to have exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:12-16)!
- Expect the judgment of God as loving purification, suffering according to His will to develop complete dedication to doing the Father’s plan for His kingdom and glory forever (1 Peter 4:17-19, 5:11)!
- This is all to be done in mutually submissive humility which is a channel of God’s grace, not seeking position but opportunity to benefit each other (1 Peter 5:5b).
- Be on your guard, because the enemy attacks with fear. Those who respond in the flesh with fear, worry, pride, scorn, denial, blinding anger, or rage will be devoured. Resist the enemy by being steadfast in the faith, knowing the same sufferings are a common experience. God–the source of grace–will use the suffering as a test and perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Peter 5:8-10).
We have a deadline; let’s unify to get as much done for the Kingdom as we can. Persecution is par for the course and opportunity for God to be glorified. We should expect God’s refining work in our life–it is as intrinsic as the air we breathe! Unify as a team through mutual humility and rejoice as God is glorified. We have an enemy, so be ready to fend off attack. God uses all forms of suffering to make us into His ideal, so go with His flow, soaking in His healing grace.
To minister to Father God’s heart and model Christ and the Bride in our marriages, we must unify as a team, submit to God’s refining, fend off all spiritual enemies, glorify God in persecution, and soak in God’s grace to be supple in His hands.
Is your marriage a joy and delight to you and your spouse? How about to others?
Here are seven tips, gauges and goals from Philippians 2 to see where your marriage is at and propel you in the right direction:
- Speak Devotion: Avoid nagging, bickering, sarcasm and competitive one-up-manship, instead use your energy to honestly encourage your spouse. Be loyal and use your words to display your appreciation for them, both to their face and behind their back!
- Act Devotion: Take care of your own needs AND your spouse’s needs. Breadwinning is not enough! Do you see something that needs doing and would take less than two minutes? Do it now! The kitchen, laundry, clutter control and keeping the bathroom tidy all have many small steps that either spouse can do when they are right there. As the Boy Scouts say, “Leave it better than when you found it.”
- Suffer Humbly. Jesus, even with His authority and responsibility, lived humility and self-control to the extent of suffering to help others, which pleased Father God. In your marriage you have authority and responsibility. Live in humility and self-control, willingly suffering to help your spouse and marriage. Willingly pull your weight and some of your spouse’s! Deal with issues, but iron over the molehills and save your strength for the mountains!
- Live Passion. You have wondrous things inside you! Actively live your strengths and passions to your spouse and the world. As you give what only you have you will see God’s joy and delight take shape in your heart and through your hands, benefiting your spouse, marriage and the world.
- Shine Beautifully. Shine your light beautifully by living without whining, complaining or arguing, instead offer encouragement and helpful wisdom. As the song says: “Accentuate the positive; Eliminate the negative; And latch on to the affirmative; Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between!”
- Have Friends. You and your spouse cannot do everything for each other and a marriage does not exist in a vacuum. Men need to relate to other men and women to other women; some more so than others. Connect with the community.
- Give Everything. Strategize with your spouse to put all your strengths together and minimize the impact of your weaknesses. The world will try to tear you apart. Live the battle and adventure of making your marriage your strong place, your place of refuge, even if it costs you your health or life. You are held in high regard when you count strengthening your marriage worthy of descending to the gates of death and sacrificing your life. Battle through to achieve the victory, then rejoice and celebrate the overcoming of sickness and the strengthening of your marriage.
When you live your devotion and passion, shining beautifully, humbly pulling more than your weight and giving everything you’ve got, your friends will see the joy and delight your marriage is to you, and you will see the joy and delight your marriage is to them!